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Typhoon Mangkhut, Emergency Preparedness Week + Blog Takeover

18 September 2018

Hi everyone,

It was blog takeover week last week because I had much of the week on holiday. Thanks to those of you who sent through your contributions. I've included an interesting mix below.

Blog Takeover - R U OK?
by Clariana Rodrigues

As part of the Social Support program some of our staff attended the suicide prevention workshop. We learnt that there is an increase in suicide rates as you age, usually increasing at around 70 years old. This information prompted action. We mailed out all of our clients and volunteers on R U OK? day a small letter that acted as a conversation started and a way of reminding everyone that there is help available.

Christine, one of our many clients, was really happy we reached out and called to thank me. She told me her son was struggling and that she did not know where to turn. Her son suffers from mental health issues and as a result, Christine can sometimes stress and over worry about him. Once she received the R U OK? letter she felt confident to ask for help. Christine immediately called Lifeline and spoke to a lovely lady who was able to help.

Christine thanked me and asked if I could hear her out. I told her that I was happy to listen but I am not a professional when it comes to counselling and suggested that she call her general practitioner. After a long chat, Christine thanked me for listening as well as for everything the program and her great volunteer does.

Christine is a true champion of our program and is extremely humble. We are lucky to have her with us!


Blog Takeover - Greening Red Cross
by Anthony Benedyka

With our office spaces coming together in North Melbourne, and Spring in the air, it is a good opportunity to breathe some new life into our garden beds at Villiers Street. The space was initially established as part of Migration Support Programs in Victoria with people seeking asylum participating in gardening through the Hub Harvest program.

A third garden bed was generously donated by Victorian State Director Toni Aslett in 2015 as she left Red Cross, to express her support and encouragement of building a community space at our Villiers Street site. The garden beds are still used as part of our Food Bank area, as people accessing our food are also able to take some fresh herbs.

We would like to call together any interested gardeners to meet and discuss how they would like to use the space (lunchtime gardening, afternoon cup of tea and catch up area, general community space?). If this interests you, and you’re ready to get your hands dirty, please email and we can grow the garden space into something we can all enjoy!

“Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.” (Author Unknown)


Blog Takeover - Red Cross Street Appeal in Perth
By Di Buckles

We were out on the streets of Perth for the Red Cross Street Appeal last week and we’ve received some lovely donations and stories. One of them would be about a man who could not afford to give any money, but gave us flowers for all the great things Red Cross does for the community. Another two gentlemen who live mostly on the streets wanted to give us all the money they had which was $2.70 between them, as a thank you to Red Cross for giving them a warm meal at night. Then there was the man whose mother gets a daily Telecross call from Red Cross and the young Aboriginal man from Broome who wanted to say a big thank you for the amazing work Red Cross does in the north of WA. He offered us the biggest smile and an apology that he could only give $5. Such generosity really moved the team. Above are a few photos from the day.


Blog Takeover - Getting to know our supporters to re-imagine the giving experience

By Katrina Harrison

Over the past three months, our Engagement & Support team have been getting to know our supporters through an immersive piece of work into Regular Giving. A joint project between the Customer Experience and Supporter Acquisition & Loyalty teams, the project set out to gather feedback from supporters on their experience, to uncover opportunities for our fundraising products, linked to our Strategy 2020: Goal 5 outcome of diversified funding.

Conducting interviews with supporters in their homes or communities, the team learned who they are, their motivations for engaging with Red Cross, gathered feedback on their experience and uncovered plenty of opportunities and ideas for future innovation.

The research uncovered six key customer principles to help Red Cross design the optimal experience:

- Make it: Easy/Simple
- On their Terms
- Authentic
- Memorable
- Consistent and
- Flexible.

Additionally, the research uncovered that to enhance their experience with Red Cross, supporters need:

  • To hear more about the impact of their donation and to feel good about their choice of Red Cross – they have high levels of trust, but want to be more connected to our work and feel they are really making a difference, hearing how their 'donor dollar' is invested where it's needed
  • To cut through the noise of a very congested sector, and 'stand out from the crowd' – there are so many ways to give and things to give to, it can be overwhelming
  • To have more ways to get involved – many would love to connect with us in new and different ways

Now that the research has wrapped up, the team are jumping into opportunity development, and in the next few weeks will start testing prototypes and developing solutions across: F2F and online fundraising, innovation for new product development, tools to increase awareness and consideration with our marketing and communications, and evolving the customer journey to increase loyalty and retention.


Blog Takeover - Art and Messages of friendship for Kalgoorlie Red Cross Soup Patrol team
By Linda Crumlin

In Kalgoorlie, we have students from kindergarten to pre-primary who were busy decorating cup holders and paper bags filled with messages of love and friendship to donate to the Kalgoorlie Red Cross Soup Patrol team.

The decorated items – from bags to cup holders, will be used to serve soup and bread to homeless and needy Kalgoorlie-Boulder residents in coming weeks.

Thanks to all those involved, these little acts help to put a smile on the faces of people accessing the charity food service. You can read more about this story here.


Global Ideas Forum – Keynote on the Future of Work

Thanks also to those of you who contributed ideas for this speech which I gave on behalf of Red Cross on Sunday at the Forum. The Forum is for 25 to 35-year-old medical, development and humanitarian professionals. It is such an exciting space to be in. There are so many ways each of us can leverage the changes that are happening around us and emerging technologies to have a positive social impact in this world. You can click here for the keynote speech I gave on behalf of us all.

That's it for the blog takeover. Thanks again to those who contributed.


4 out of 5 Australians have experienced an emergency or disaster. Who will you be in an emergency?


It's Emergency Preparedness Week – this week we highlight one of our key initiatives aimed at helping Australians get prepared.

The past months we've seen the impact of disasters here at home and around the world from the earthquakes in Lombok, Indonesia, the floods in Kerala, India and fires in Greece.

According to research recently conducted on behalf of Red Cross, nearly 4 out of 5 Australians (77%) have experienced an emergency or disaster. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the thought of dealing with a disaster. That is why early planning is important to ensure that we remain resilient during such times. The more prepared we are for emergencies and disasters, the less stressful they become. Disaster preparedness is simple.

"Having a pre-made plan and developing really strong social bonds before a disaster." These are the two things Arjan says people need to recover well after a major disaster. Like you, Arjan works with Australian Red Cross. As an emergency recovery officer, he helps support communities after emergencies.

"Disasters can be highly stressful and can really impact people's mental health and create long-term challenges for families. Being prepared is the best way to ensure your safety and wellbeing. But despite the fact that being prepared saves lives, research shows that around one in three Aussies have not taken any steps to prepare," said Simon Rickard, Acting National Manager of Emergency Services.

At Red Cross, we want to be the most prepared workforce in Australia, and to do that we need to make a plan. We're working towards equipping 20,000 Red Cross people to be prepared for disaster and emergencies. If you haven't already, now is the best time to download the Get Prepared app. The app helps you connect with your key support people, accomplish simple tasks to make you and your loved ones safer, and protect the things that matter most to you.

I believe we all have a role to play. You could be facing an emergency or there to help. Talk to your colleagues, friends and family members about the importance of making your own emergency plans. This can start with simple steps like connecting with your neighbours, thinking about what to pack in an emergency kit, creating a plan for your pets and loved ones, and be mentally prepared on what to do in the event of an emergency.

Visit the website the team has put together to help your friends, colleagues and all Australians get prepared. Share your thoughts on what your emergency plan may look like on our Facebook and Twitter or head here to read about lessons learnt from those who survived disasters and those who were there to help with recovery.


Checking in from Our-ter Space

I want to say a big thank you to our Melbourne Move team who has been instrumental in the process of bringing us all together in the Villiers Street office. We had the official launch on Friday beginning with the traditional Welcome to Country and a welcome note from our Victorian Divisional Advisory Board Chair, Anne Macarthur. The theme for the day was 'Our-ter Space'. We’re still getting the exterior part of the building repainted but the office is all warmed up now with the additional plants and with different teams settling into your work areas. It’s been a process of creating, listening, understanding, collaborating and adjusting. You’ve all been amazing!

Finally, a short but important footnote, the Philippines was hit with Typhoon Mangkhut. Philippine Red Cross staff and volunteers have been mobilized in a big way and are there on the grounds with water search and rescue teams, water and sanitation, and other measures at the ready.